Navy Staff Officer's Guide

Leading with Impact from Squadron to OPNAV

  • Subject: Fall 2022 Catalog
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    19 b/w images
  • Published:
    November 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    24 oz
Hardcover $29.95
Member Price $23.96 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Continuing the tradition of Naval Institute Blue and Gold series classics such as Command at Sea and the Watch Officer’s Guide, The Navy Staff Officer’s Guide will equip naval leaders for success in the challenging professional environment of a Navy staff. Navy staffs build and equip the Navy, plan its future, and guide its current operations. During a staff tour, a savvy Navy leader can have positive reach beyond the lifelines of a single command, with impact across the fleet and years into the future.  

Staff duty emphasizes a different set of tools from those typically employed in sea duty billets. It has its own formal and informal expectations and its own opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls. This guide provides and explains those tools — and marks the shoals that can wreck the unaware — enabling both new and seasoned staff officers to be prepared for the unique requirements of staff duty. Through extensive use of historical examples and “sea stories,” it introduces the reader to why staffs exist, how they impact the Navy, and how they can offer both professional development and meaningful accomplishment.  

Recognizing that Navy staffs vary in their purposes and organization, The Navy Staff Officer’s Guide synthesizes those differences into meaningful guidance for all staff officers, civilians, and Sailors, whether assigned to a destroyer squadron staff operating from a DDG or to the OPNAV staff in the Pentagon. Effective coordination, clear communication, and an understanding of the commander and their mission are central to staff success and are clearly articulated. In twenty-three chapters covering the many aspects of Navy staff work—including “The Staff Command Triad,” “Communicating as a Staff Officer,” “Civilian Personnel,” “Fleet Commands and the Maritime Operations Centers,” and “TYCOMs and SYSCOMs”—Captain Rielage has “covered the waterfront” (in Sailor-speak) with this comprehensive and readable guide.  

Staffs may not win the fight, but good staff work creates the conditions for victory before the first shot is fired. This guide is the key to ensuring the success of Navy staffs and all those who serve them.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“A beautifully written, well-organized, and up-to-date gold mine of vital data and wise advice. Particularly focused on the new naval era of fleet-centered operations. Will improve the quality of Navy staff work and decisions by Navy commanders, and empower officers new to a Navy staff to hit the ground running.” –Capt. Peter M. Swartz (Ret.), senior CNA strategy analyst and former Cold War U.S. Navy strategist
“An excellent read that would be very valuable for anyone reporting to a staff! Very readable with historical context that enlightens today's staff constructs. Dale succinctly and accurately captures the essence of a Navy staff and provides experienced insights on how to succeed in your inevitable staff assignment.” —Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, USN (Ret.)
“When I assumed command of the Pacific Fleet I had the privilege to selecting Capt. Rielage to serve as my N2. With little daylight between the nominees from their expertise in the intel community, I found my interview with Dale instructive on how to work through shaping a staff to think, plan and execute in the seam between the Operational and Strategic levels of Naval operations, an area of particular personal and professional interest. That effort continued throughout my tour in working to knit together a major Fleet staff that focused on the strategic aspects and operational framework to optimize large fleet operations against a peer competitor. In reading Capt. Rielage’s masterfully constructed book, containing a lifetime of service on consequential staffs at all levels of command, you will be well served working on, in and with staffs, inside as well as outside the Navy.” —Adm. Scott H. Swift, USN (Ret.), former commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, founder of The Swift Group LLC, national security consultancy
“A one-of-a-kind work capturing the essence and purpose of staffs supporting Commanders across the gamut – from Squadron, Fleet and Combatant Commands to the enterprise-level and echelon one. Rielage deftly outlines the skill and art of effectively supporting 'commander’s intent' in an increasingly connected world.” —Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, USN (Ret.), Senior Fellow, CNA; president emeritus, Pacific Forum International; co-author Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 3rd ed.
“In these approachable pages, like a great mentor over a cup of coffee Dale Rielage offers a master class in naval staff work, its importance and its methods. This will be a valuable resource for any and all naval officers.” —Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong, co-author of Developing the Naval Mind